Thursday, May 29, 2014

Student Spotlight with Mollie Rehner and Chicago Women's Funny Festival

The Chicago Women's Funny Festival - Chicago's THIRD annual festival celebrating women in comedy - has lots of Second City students and grads performing this year. One of our favorites is the wonderful Mollie Rehner, Conservatory student and Head Writer for the de Maat Theater's 'The Midnight Parade' Saturdays at Midnight. We were able to talk to Mollie about the festival and more.

What will you be performing at the Women's Funny Festival and when?
Sketch and musical comedy with my group Prostitute Tears on Thursday June 5 @9pm in The Pro Theatre, Stage 773.

Tell us about your group!
Prostitute Tears is very talented and every person in the group has a ton of creativity. With our shows you can expect music, dance numbers, and material that exposes the comedic seediness of every day life. We are so excited to be performing in this year's Chicago Women's Funny Festival and we are honored to have been selected!

What other shows are you excited to see at the festival?
The Cupid Players, The Fruit Flies, and Brouhaha: An Improvised Puppet Musical

What training have you went through to be where you are today?
I was a producer and writer of a sketch comedy show called Sideshow Comedy at Michigan State University, in which we won an Emmy award. I have also done entertainment reporting and hosting, and made some pretty sweet home movies when I was little. In Chicago, I have trained in The Second City's Conservatory program and at iO Theatre. I have also studied at the The Lincoln Lodge and perform regularly at Stage 773.

What's the coolest thing that has happened to you on stage as a performer in Chicago so far?
I tripped and fell during my very first stand up show. I guess that's what I get for making fun of people.

If you had to give a Chicago newbie comedian one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find a group of people that share your ambitions and passions. I believe if you put in the hard work and have a good attitude, opportunities will present themselves.

Where can we see you performing after the festival's run?
Stage 773! My group Prostitute Tears will be performing all summer!

Anyone you want to shout out to and make them feel special?
Brian Posen and the hard working staff at Stage 773, my Prostitutes, and of course all of the groups performing in this year's Chicago Women's Funny Festival!

For more festival info, click here:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SC Alum Bob Martin Takes Broadway

SC alum Bob Martin will star in the latest film-to-stage adaptation of "The Sting." Alongside him will be former SC Touring Company musical director, Mark Hollmann. For more details, click here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SC Mixtape in Denver

For our friends out in Denver, if you're looking for a taste of Second City in your hometown, check out The Second City's American Mixtape, now playing at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts! It will be playing June 4-29th.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ariel Dumas Hired to The Colbert Report

It was just announced that Second City Touring Company's Ariel Dumas has been hired to the writing staff of The Colbert Report. Congratulations!

Congrats to Conservatory Grad Mike Dozier on ‘Devil in My Ride’ Release

Conservatory Grad Mike Dozier recently moved from Chicago to LA and is now writing for and co-wrote Comedy/Horror ‘Devil In My Ride’ - now available on Amazon, Hulu and more. Give him some love and check out this critically acclaimed film!

About ‘Devil In My Ride’
When Doreen becomes possessed by the devil on her wedding night, her groom Hank and her rebellious brother Travis put aside their differences to travel across country from Chicago to Las Vegas in the hopes of finding a mythical street preacher who is said to be the last exorcist in America.

The film has received some great reviews.
"The story is a cross between Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle and The Exorcist."-Legless Corpse
"Top Horror/Comedy of 2013" - HorrorHound
"DEVIL IN MY RIDE is the kind of against-all-odds independent film that is admirable in both concept and execution, and if you give it a chance, you won’t regret taking the trip." - Fangoria

The film stars Joey Bicicchi, Erin Breen, Sid Haig (Devil's Rejects, Kill Bill 2) and Second City Detroit Alumni - Frank Zieger.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tim Meadows Added To All-Star Comedy Benefit Line-Up

SC alum, Tim Meadows, will be joining the line-up for our All-Star Comedy Benefit July 17th. Tickets go on sale to the public Tuesday, May 27th at 10am. For more information, click here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

SCTV Sketch Breakdown

Our friends at Splitsider took it upon themselves to breakdown SCTV's "Dr. Tongue's Evil House of Pancakes" starring John Candy and Eugene Levy. Here's what they had to say...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SCTC Spotlight: Conservatory Grad Hope England Doing Great Things With 'Humor for Hope'

Hope England is a conservatory grad, a talented performer and an all-around awesome lady. Find out what she is doing with her Non-Profit 'Humor for Hope' and how you can help. Inspiring stuff!

Can you tell us what your organization is all about?
Humor for Hope is a 501c3 non profit that uses the art of improvisational comedy as a form of therapy in children's hospitals. Our mission is to provide children with acute, chronic, or terminal illness an opportunity to experience improvisational comedy as a therapeutic intervention.

How did you come up with the idea of 'Humor for Hope'?
I was performing sketch and improv all around town while simultaneously volunteering at Lurie Children's Hospital. I had a really rough audition for NBC in LA and left feeling deflated, super self conscious, and doubting myself, my skills, and abilities. I had never felt that way before and didn't ever want to feel that way again. I felt like the work I was doing was self indulgent so I took some time off to process and do some soul searching. I realized I loved the work I was doing but wanted to use my talents, skills, and abilities for the greater good. I wanted my passions to benefit others, not just myself.
At Lurie Children's I was doing volunteer work with patients that were placed on isolation. This means they are very limited in their interactions due to their illness and the risk of infection. As you know, improvisational comedy requires no props so that alone greatly reduces the risk of infection while still stimulating the imagination. Much of the time this isolated population of children needs engagement and interaction more than any one else, so I proposed the idea of using improv comedy in order to access them, seeing that no props were necessary and it greatly lowered the risk of infection.
The more I researched it, the more I realized comedy should absolutely be a form of therapy in all hospitals. To me it was a no-brainer. I just kept thinking, why is this not a thing? We all know laughter is the best medicine.
I pitched my idea to a few hospitals and at a global health care conference at Yale and got resounding feedback. Thus began Humor for Hope

What has been the most gratifying thing to you at an event so far?
In the very beginning, I came across a toddler that was deaf, blind, and alone. My heart broke for this child. All I knew to do was hold him close and sing so he would feel the vibrations through my chest. I began to chuckle because I didn't know the words to the song I was singing so I improvised it. He felt my laughter and let out his own little laugh. That moment changed my life. The power of comedy and laughter is so real.

Was there an eye-opening experience that shifted your point of view as a person and made you want to help others?
After my 3 month long stint soul searching, I began to realize that all we have is now. This very moment. All of us. That the second we are born we begin to die. When it comes to death and dying you really begin to question the meaning of life and why you are here. Especially when it comes to ill children and death. I watched nurses, patients, and parents, persevere through some of the most unimaginable circumstances.
As human beings we crave and need connection. Sometimes all we need is someone there beside us when we are helpless and sometimes that's all you can do for someone - just be there. I witnessed this many times at the hospital and on my solo journey across the country. We need each other. The people that helped me and the ones that I saw help others inspired me to try to do whatever I can to help others and make the world a better place.

What can people do to help your organization touch more lives?
There's so much. Because we are so brand-spanking-new and have gotten so much feedback and attention so quickly, we are in need of a lot of help. We are currently looking for an awesome web designer that's willing to do some pro bono work and we are also in need of some killer grant writers if you are out there. We are in the midst of talks of expanding all over to different organizations and hospitals, so very soon we will need a lot of volunteers for various things.  For now just spreading the word and offering feedback via our contact page on our website would be tremendously helpful. Also, feel free to share  inspirational stories of how humor and comedy changed your life on our Facebook page or just stay up to date on our happenings and volunteer needs.

Anyone you would like to make a shout out to? 
I would like to make a shout of to all the people that have supported me on this crazy journey. That includes all of my family at The Second City and in the comedy realm, my parents, friends, and people I've met along the way that believed in this vision and supported me no matter what. Without you this wouldn't be possible. 
It's amazing what good things come out of being supportive, kind, and saying Yes AND :)

Humor heals, let's do what we can while we can.

The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit

The Second City is excited to host alumni and friends including Aidy Bryant, Rachel Dratch, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, George Wendt, Fred Willard, Steven Yeun and more at The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit, a special one night fundraising event benefiting Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at The Second City Mainstage Theater (1616 N. Wells St). Performances will be at 7:00p and 10:00p. Tickets go on sale at on Tuesday, May 27 at 10:00am.

Featuring a hilarious cast of alumni and friends, The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit includes improv and some of the best scenes from The Second City’s 54 year history for one night of legendary laughs at the birthplace of Chicago-style improv and sketch comedy. Scheduled performers include Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Danny Pudi (Community), George Wendt (Cheers), Fred Willard (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Modern Family) and Steven Yeun (Walking Dead). More guests to be announced.

Proceeds from The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit will go to Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund.

VIP Tickets for The Second City All-Star Comedy Benefit are $500.00, and include a post-show private cocktail reception.  Premium tickets which include two cocktails and a souvenir glass will be available for $300.00 and a limited number of seats are available for $250.00. Tickets go on sale at on Tuesday, May 27.

About Gilda’s Club Chicago
Gilda’s Club Chicago offers FREE programs for men, women, teens and children and their family and friends whose lives have been impacted by any kind of cancer. Their mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

About The Second City Alumni Fund
The Alumni Fund of The Second City is a resource fund for performers, technicians, support staff and other members of the creative and production teams at The Second City and SCTV. The Alumni Fund provides counseling and/or short-term financial aid to assist in expenses for health, housing and rehabilitation after an illness, injury or sudden inability to work.

Andrea Martin Wins Outer Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actress In A Play

Congratulations to SC alum, Andrea Martin, on her Outer Circle Award win for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for Act One. Read the full list of winners here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Key & Peele Team Up With Enriquez and Caeti For New Digital Series

SC alum Keegan-Michael Key and comedy partner-in-crime, Jordan Peele, are teaming up with Maker Studios to create a new digital series, "Ithamar Has Nothing to Say." This will star fellow SC alum Ithamar Enriquez and is in partnership with Principato-Young Entertainment - Enriquez and yet another SC alum, Frank Caeti.

Check out all the details here.

Student Amalia Gonazalez Finalist in US Champions of Care - Your Vote Helps!

Second City student and volunteer, Amalia Gonzalez, has been selected as a finalist in Johnson & Johnson’s US Champions of Care program. Beginning Monday, the public began voting to select the grand prize winner who will attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ final match in Rio de Janeiro on July 13. Johnson & Johnson is the Official Healthcare Sponsor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and created the program to shine a spotlight on people who go above and beyond to do extraordinary things in caring for others. The Champions of Care program invited individuals across the country to celebrate the most caring people in their lives and share their inspirational stories. From these stories, six finalists – Amalia included – were selected and are profiled at (English).

At 24 years old, Amalia has dedicated her life to caring for her sister with cerebral palsy. This commitment not only involves being a full-time caregiver, but also volunteering in her community to make her sister proud. While attending college and now as she pursues her professional career while studying sketch comedy at Second City, Amalia has remained committed to her sister’s care, and also devotes countless hours to make a lasting impact in her community.

The public can vote once per day for their favorite finalist from May 5-25, 2014.

SC Toronto Musical Director, Bob Derkach, Inducted into Blues Hall of Fame

Bob Derkach, Second City Musical Director for Toronto, Edmonton and Santa Monica Mainstages 1981-2006 is to be inducted into the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Blues Hall of Fame on June 8, 2014.

In this Inaugural Celebration of Inductees, Bob D is being honored along with fellow Hot Cottage Blues Band members Steve Boddington (guitar), Brian Koehli (bass) and Linsey Umrysh (drums), in the Performer Category, particularly for their 1972 blues album "Hot Cottage with Walter "Shakey" Horton".

Walter Horton was a member of Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars so the Chicago connection lives on! Check it out here. It is also available on iTunes.